Bristol Hippodrome

Thriller Live

July 2018

Review: Thriller Live a show with soul

Thriller Live exploded on stage at the Bristol Hippodrome on Monday night with an electrifying mix of Motown and Moon Dancing to thrill the most ardent Michael Jackson fan.

While the cast sang ‘doesn’t matter if you are black or white’ a quick glance around the stalls revealed again the lack of diversity among the theatre going public which was sad coming a day after St Pauls carnival.

But having said that this was one of the most enthusiast audiences I had seen or heard at the Bristol Hippodrome for some time as they boogied to the sounds and excitement of this high octave show.

The dancing is superb, the singing is superb, but this is a tribute concert with some unscripted narration as opposed to a musical with a strong storyline.

The multi-talented vocalists on stage included Chubby Checker lookalike Shaquille Maerice, Ina Seidon who sported a Marsha Hunt hairdo and stilt length legs and skinhead Rory Taylor ably aided and abetted by musical director Britt Quentin, Eddy Lima and Adriana Louise.

The girls sang the high notes to authentically reproduce the falsetto sounds of Michael Jackson the all the cast indulged in the crotch hugging and finger pointing moves of complex star performer.

The troupe performed for two hours in front of flashy huge disco speakers impregnated with hundreds of coloured lights and a changing hologram backdrop on two levels – it is an effective set.

The live band is great, especially the guitarist wearing the AC/DC T-shirt.

But the dancers – well wonderful isn’t a big enough word to describe their super charged athleticism.

If you are old enough to remember the 70s and 80s you will groan at the costumes - think Grease and Jane Fonda workouts - and wonder how you ever thought you looked 'cool' dressed like that.

The non-dead ghouls wearing widows weeds were a welcome respite from the skin-hugging, skimpy Lycra.   

In February this year Thriller Live became the 14th longest running West End musical and this is the second time the show has gone on tour.

It is apt that 2018 would have been Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday.

Seen by nearly five million people worldwide Thriller Live never fails to get a standing ovation and Monday evening was no exception.

Born in the US in August 1958 Michael Jackson died in June 2009 aged 50 from a cardiac arrest induced by acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication

The multi-talented father-on-three who married Lisa Marie Presley was a singer, songwriter and dancer dubbed the King of Pop.

He led a controversial lifestyle mostly due to changing his skin colour and how his body somehow or other skipped puberty.

Not to mention the court cases…I said not to mention the court cases… 

Beat It, Billie Jean and Thriller all from the 1982 album were my favourite numbers with Bad and The Way You Make Me Feel also contenders.

Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with estimated sales of more than 66 million copies worldwide.

According to Wikipedia 'Jackson became a figure of controversy in the 1980s due to his changing physical appearance, his relationships, and behaviour; the controversy intensified due to a 1993 child sexual abuse scandal when a family friend accused him of sexually abusing his son; the case led to an investigation but was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount, and his accuser committed suicide many years later'.

In 2005, he was tried and acquitted of further child sexual abuse allegations and several other charges after the jury found him not guilty on all counts.

The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled his death a homicide, and his personal physician, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Jackson's death triggered a global outpouring of grief, and a live broadcast of his public memorial service was viewed around the world.

All the scandals didn't knock his popularity and his life-size poster adorned a daughter's bedroom wall all through her teen years.

Forbes ranked Jackson as the top-earning deceased celebrity for the fifth consecutive year in 2017.

His estate earned $825 million in 2016, the highest yearly amount ever recorded by the publication.

  • Did I tell you I got a call from Michael Jackson once…it was in the summer of 1976 and the Jackson Five were staying at the Intercontinental on Hyde Park Corner. I was working on the switchboard and he asked if I could organise a grand piano being moved into his suite in the sky. I could not, and the hotel duty manager was incredulous that such a request was being made and retorted ‘tell him he may practise in the main ballroom but make sure all the other guests know we have Michael Jackson on the piano’.

Thriller Live plays Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday, July 14.

Tickets from £19.95 + booking fee by clicking HERE.

Carol Deacon